Attacking Muslims is wrong path for Republicans. Be like Bush, celebrate religious liberty

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If you feel the need to attack Muslims to to win an election, you’re not worthy of a seat in office. Both Bush presidents modeled better values.

During this election cycle that felt never-ending, too many conservative candidates steered their campaigns in a dangerous anti-Muslim direction. They spewed nasty rhetoric on the campaign trail, damaging the image of the Republican Party and alienating voters.

Muslim Advocates released a report in October detailing the increased amount of anti-Muslim rhetoric in campaign messaging. It found at least 80 campaigns this cycle used shameless anti-Muslim rhetoric. Of 73 races where a candidate’s party affiliation could be positively identified, 71 of the campaign messaging supported Republican candidates. Half of the candidates were running for Congress, and 37 competed in the general election.

This isn’t a new development. There have been anti-Muslim conspiracies looming on the fringes for years. Some candidates across the country keep taking the bait. By doing so, they alienate faith-friendly voters who value diversity and cherish their neighbors who follow Islam.

Take GOP Reps. Duncan Hunter of California and Dave Brat of Virginia.

To distract voters from his indictments, Hunter used anti-Muslim messaging to portray his Democratic opponent as a threat. Ammar Campa-Najjar is a former Obama official of Mexican and Palestinian descent. Hunter accused Campa-Najjar of being receptive to sharia law and looking to “infiltrate” Congress. And Hunter won — even though Campa-Najjar is a devout Christian who denounces extremist beliefs.


An encounter with a God-fearing Christian

tariqTariq A. Al-Maeena

I spent a pleasant afternoon on a warm sunny day in southern California in the company of a God-fearing Christian who was concerned about what he perceived to be the evils of Islamic ideology.  It was evident that he considered the religious movement as one that would threaten his world and existence.

That is hardly unusual as there are perhaps many with similar sentiments.  In the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001 with the bombings of the World Trade Center towers in New York, many could have been forgiven for considering that such a threat was indeed credible.

Such sentiments were cemented when the President of the United States, at the time, George W. Bush declared a crusade against the perpetrators, invoking a disturbing scenario of an impending clash of civilizations.  In creating the “good versus evil” and “you’re with us or against us” doctrine, Mr. Bush further solidified his stance when he used the term “Islamic fascists”.

My companion that afternoon had done his research.  He had read many books on the Hadith and Fiqh, and translations of the Holy Qur’an.  His argument was that Islam is inherently violent and on a collision course with other religions.  He quoted examples of verses or incidents in religious scripture to back his suspicions.

Eight years of Mr. Bush spouting in the same vein and a highly unpopular war in Iraq did not help foster closer understanding.  Just the opposite was true.  Muslims were quickly portrayed to be the bad guys in the Western media, who had sinister intentions against a peace-loving Western world.  Every act of terrorism committed by some nut calling himself a soldier of Allah or a jihadist was considered a well-planned and deeply covert operation sanctioned by the more than 1.3 billion Muslims on the planet.